As a little kid, Kathleen Heit would come downtown to visit her dad while he was working. It’s where Heit later began her career in the financial industry and reconnected with many of Topeka’s leaders when she moved back to Topeka in 2007.
Now she brings her three children downtown to check out festivals, attend First Friday Art Walks and explore the pocket parks that line Kansas Avenue. Two-year-old Morgan particularly enjoys tossing pennies in the fountains and climbing on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train.
“Our connection to downtown comes back to family, community and great career opportunities,” Heit said. “Downtown Topeka is a large part of our past, present and future. We spend our money downtown – we bank downtown, eat, drink and shop downtown. We come downtown for all the events and entertainment. We are clients, customers, service providers, professionals and parking meter violators.”
Heit has been involved with the Downtown Rotary Club, YWCA, Downtown Topeka Inc. and ARTSConnect. It’s with ARTSConnect that Heit feels she has the most visible impact downtown, with the organization’s commitment to supporting arts-related businesses on Kansas Avenue, activities and events.
She’s also been able to invest in downtown development through her employer, U.S. Bank.
“The corporate leadership has been remarkable, and I have been very proud to be involved,” Heit said.